If you are a citizen/permanent resident of Canada, and you have a family member who wants to immigrate to Canada, you have the opportunity to help them. You can do this through the Canada family sponsorship program.
That means, you can become their sponsor and make their immigration application easier.
Both the sponsor and their family members who live abroad must meet certain requirements to be able to qualify for Canada’s family sponsorship program.
Who can I sponsor to Canada?
You can sponsor a:
- Spouse, common law partner or child
- Parent or grandparent
- Other relative (only if you meet certain criteria)
How Do I Become a Sponsor for my Family Members?
You are eligible to become a sponsor in Canada if you meet the following criteria:
- You are an adult.
- You hold Canadian citizenship or Permanent Residence.
- You have to prove you plan to continue living in Canada after the people you sponsor become residents.
- You are registered in Canada as an Indian under the Canadian Indian Act.
- You have enough financial income to provide for the people you are sponsoring.
- You are not receiving social assistance (other than for a disability).
- You are not in jail, prison, or penitentiary.
- You do not have a criminal history.
- You do not have an unpaid immigration loan, performance bond, or mandated family support payment (child support, alimony)*
- You have not declared bankruptcy. *
- You do not have a Removal Order.
- For a spouse, partner or child:
- You cannot have been sponsored yourself by another spouse/partner in the past five years.
- You cannot have remaining financial obligations to a spouse/partner you sponsored in the past.
*Do not apply if you live in Quebec.
Family sponsorship to Canada for a spouse, partner, or child
You are allowed to sponsor your:
You can sponsor a spouse (wife/husband) if:
- The two of you are legally married
- You are both over 18
You can sponsor your common-law partner if:
- They are 18
- You are in a conjugal relationship
- You have been living together for a minimum of 12 consecutive months
- If you lived apart for any span of time, it must have been short and temporary
- You can give proof of your common-law relationship. You can do this by:
- Showing you have shared property
- Showing you share a lease or rental agreement
- Showing you pay utility bills together
- Showing you have the same address on important documents (driver’s license, insurance policies)
You can sponsor your conjugal partner if:
- They are over 18.
- They live outside Canada.
- You have been in a relationship for a minimum of 1 year.
- You are unable to live together or get married in your partner’s country of residence because of the following legal and immigration reasons:
- Your partner is married and cannot get a divorce because their country does not allow it.
- They live in a country that does not accept your sexual orientation. For example, you are in a same-sex relationship and same-sex relationships are illegal in your partner’s country of residence.
- You could be prosecuted for your relationship. For example, if you belong to different religious groups and can face social or legal consequences for being in a relationship.
You can sponsor your own child or the child of a spouse/partner. A child is considered dependent if:
- They are under 22 years old.
- They are not married or have a common-law partner.
- If they are 22 or over, they can still be considered dependant if:
- They have a mental or physical condition which prevents them from supporting themselves.
- They have been financially dependent on you before 22.
Keep in mind:
If you were a Canadian citizen (by birth or naturalization) when your child was born, your child is a Canadian citizen as well. You do not need to apply for a residence permit for them.
If you are only sponsoring your child (not a spouse/partner), you will have to prove that the other parent also agrees to the child immigrating. In this case, the child is the principal applicant.
If you are sponsoring both a spouse/partner and their child (or one you had together), the spouse/partner is the principal applicant. The child is the dependent in this case.
If your child has a child of their own, you have to include them as dependents in the application.
Family sponsorship to Canada for a parent/grandparent
With this application, you can sponsor:
- Your parents (by blood or adoption)
- Your grandparents (by blood or adoption)
- If divorced: You can sponsor your parents’ spouses, common-law partners, or conjugal partners.
- If they have children: You can sponsor the children only if they are dependant.
- You can sponsor more than one couple/person (and their dependents) if you meet the income requirements for all of them.
The interest to sponsor form
In order to sponsor your parents or grandparents to Canada, you need to submit an interest to sponsor form. You can only do this for a limited time at the beginning of the year and the IRCC reviews only the first 27,000 submissions. To find out if you can submit the form, you have to check IRCC’s website to see if the form is available.
As the name suggests, the interest to sponsor form only serves to inform the IRCC that you are interested in sponsoring your parents/grandparents. If you are able to submit the form, the IRCC may then invite you to apply for sponsorship via email.
Family sponsorship to Canada for Other Relatives
Other than a spouse/partner or parent/grandparent, you can also sponsor other relatives. These include:
An orphaned brother, sister, nephew, niece or grandchild
If you want to sponsor an orphaned brother, sister, nephew, niece or grandchild, they have to meet the following conditions:
- They have to be under 18.
- They have to be related to you by blood or adoption.
- Both of the child’s parents have passed away. It does not count if:
- One parent is still alive
- The parents are missing
- The parents have abandoned the child
- One or both parents are alive but someone else is taking care of the child
- The parent is in prison or detained
- They have to be single.
In order to sponsor another relative which is related to you by blood or adoption (they can be of any age), you have to meet all of the following conditions:
- You do not have another living relative that you can sponsor instead. This means you do not have a spouse/partner, child, parent/grandparent, or orphaned brother, sister, nephew, niece or grandchild.
- You do not have any relatives (spouse/partner, child, parent/grandparent, orphaned brother, sister, nephew, niece or grandchild, or aunt/uncle) that are:
- A Canadian citizen
- A permanent resident
- Registered Indian under the Indian Act
How to apply for Family Sponsorship to Canada?
If you are sponsoring a parent/grandparent, you have to submit the interest to sponsor form first and be invited to apply. Then, you can apply as usual within 60 days.
If you are applying for Canadian family sponsorship for any other relative, you do not need to submit the interest to sponsor form.
The usual application for family sponsorship to Canada is divided in two parts.
- You (the sponsor) has to apply for family sponsorship for your relative
- Your relative has to apply for Permanent Residence in Canada
You must submit both of these applications at the same time.
You also have to pay any required fees, such as application fees and biometric information fees.